It pays to choose the healthier options in life. With World Diabetes Day coming up, it’s the perfect time to cut down on some sugar.
It’s World Diabetes Day on 14 November, a day set aside to raise awareness about diabetes and empower diabetics to manage their health better. Living with a chronic illness can be challenging, especially where finances are concerned. Here are some choices you can make towards leading a healthier lifestyle to supplement your diabetes medication, and they won’t throw your budget off course. However, before making any decisions, please consult with your doctor first.
Consult with your doctor
It’s always best to speak to your doctor about any concerns prior to taking an action if you're unsure what effect it will have on your condition. They know what is best for you. And don’t be shy to ask for more budget-friendly options; they will be able to guide you in the right direction.
As a diabetic, monitoring your blood-sugar levels is a very important part of ensuring your health is well managed. Regular visits to the doctor to check your blood-sugar levels can prove costly, so look at getting a home blood-sugar testing kit. And again, have a chat with your doctor about it beforehand. There are a number of variations available in pharmacies such as Dis-Chem and Clicks as well as on online stores such as Takealot.
Having a balanced diabetes diet is a very important part of managing diabetes. The food you choose has the ability to improve or ruin your health.
- Choose healthier carbs, e.g. fruit, veg, pulses, wholegrains and unsweetened dairy.
- Eat less salt – it increases the risk of high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. When you have diabetes, you are already at risk, so use salt in moderation.
- Eat less red and processed meat – both have links to heart disease and cancer. Swap instead with fish, eggs, pulses (beans and lentils), unsalted nuts and poultry (chicken and turkey).
- Eat more fruit and veg – they are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Include them in your meals and have them as snacks.
- Include healthier fats – they are found in foods such as unsalted nuts, avocados, oily fish, seeds, olive oil, grapeseed oil and sunflower oil.
- Cut down on added sugar – swap out fruit juices, sugary drinks and energy drinks for plain milk, water, tea and coffee (with minimal or no sugar). If it’s a little challenging for you, start off with replacing sugar with sweeteners.
- Choose snacks wisely – unsweetened yoghurt, unsalted nuts, fruit, veg and seeds are better options than chips, sweets, biscuits and chocolates.
- Don’t overdo the alcohol – it raises blood-sugar levels and interferes with the effectiveness of insulin and other diabetes medication.
Finding affordable medication
Medication prices are not standard and they differ from pharmacy to pharmacy, so it helps to do a bit of research and compare prices to find the one that best suits you. Speak to your doctor about the more affordable and generic options of your prescribed medication. Private pharmacies are more likely to be expensive than chain-store pharmacies such as Clicks and Dis-Chem.
Unappealing as it may sound to you, exercise is a great way to maintain good health and have a balanced life. If you don’t already have a gym membership and are looking to get a reasonably priced one, have a look at the article Finding the Right Gym Membership to get some tips. Alternatively, you can create your own workout space at home and save some bucks. To help you get started, read the article How to Set Up a Budget-friendly Home Gym. There are many ways to keep active that cost little to nothing, so explore your options and find what works best for you.
Your wellbeing and health is important. It’s your responsibility to make sure you do all you can to take care of yourself and prioritise your health. And to all who are living with diabetes, we support you!